In the thirteenth part of Monstrous Regiment, Blouse continues to lead everyone into danger, and Maladict’s hallucinations start affecting the others. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
Still don’t know where this book is heading, STILL FIND THIS ABSOLUTELY ENTERTAINING. I’m 280 pages into this, I am lost within the chaos, and I cannot think of any other Discworld book that reads like this. We barely have a clue as to where Paul might be—I assume he’s in the Keep, given that this is where the remainder of the Borogravian troops are???—and the conflicts are varied across the board. Blouse’s characterization is the main problem at this point, which is so wild to me because I had assumed Jackrum would be the biggest issue for these women. His gung-ho attitude and zest for war is a nightmare, but even he recognizes that Blouse’s misguided attempt at glory is going to end terribly. So what the hell are they all supposed to do?
Why did he tip Jackrum? Out of respect? Or was it closer to something like pity? I suspect it is the latter and that he was more or less playing along with Jackrum’s lies, knowing full well that this little battalion of soldiers was about to discover the truth. Which means I suspect that de Worde isn’t going to fall for Blouse’s lie either and will fully expect all these people to come rolling into the Kneck Valley.
This is going to be a disaster.
A Strutting Bully
One thing that’s been hard to discern because we’re so close to this predicament and these characters is whether or not Borogravia really is the violent, colonizing force that other people say it is. It’s certainly possible, and we’ve been given pieces of information from outsiders—particularly journalism out of Ankh-Morpork—that says Borogravia has long been the aggressor. On top of that, how many Jackrums were there over the years? How many men just like him pursued war at the cost of ethical obligations? What if they’ve been the enemy the entire time? I imagine that this is actually more complicated than that; Discworld hasn’t been all that concerned with black-and-white political realities in the past, and we also have no idea what Zlobenia is like. But I love that this text is making me think of these questions, that it’s forcing me to interrogate who I consider the “bad” guys or the heroes.
It’s always been clear that Polly has had no interest in actually fighting this war. It was a means to an end, a way to reach Paul and bring him home. We know why this is important to her, so I didn’t question her quiet decision to get into the Keep on her own. BUT I LOVED THAT THE OTHERS WANTED TO COME WITH HER!!! Shufti and Wazzer are both going to accompany her! And then… well, I don’t know. What happens if they do find Paul? Will Polly just leave them all behind and go home? I feel like she won’t because… well, she’s gotten a bit attached to these people. Even if she doesn’t admit it aloud or to herself, they’ve made an impact on her life. She can’t just leave them behind… right?
AHHHHH, I JUST LOVE THE THEME OF BELIEF AND FAITH A LOT, Y’ALL. And that’s long been an integral part of the Discworld experience! This is no exception, and I’m so completely enamored with the character of Wazzer. I know what it’s like to struggle with being an unquestioning believer, especially since it means that there is actually a lot of questioning going on beneath the surface. It seems as though Wazzer is trying harder than ever to connect with the Duchess and with Nuggan, despite that there is virtually no evidence anymore that these beings truly care for anyone. Well, from Polly’s perspective, that is. Wazzer clings fiercely to her faith, but that’s not a bad thing, is it? It’s uncomfortable for Polly, sure, but it’s not actively harmful.
What I am looking forward to is whether or not Wazzer continues to believe that she is on a divine mission, that she is blessed, that this is exactly what she is supposed to do. If de Worde was telling the truth—and I see no reason for him to lie to these people—then there’s a massive disappointment in Wazzer’s future. Will she still rely on her faith then, or will she adapt?
Seriously, one of the things I love about this book is how dense it is with character conflicts. Because on top of all of this, Maladict’s withdrawal has now gotten to the point where his hallucinations are so powerful that other people can see them. Unless they somehow find a random coffee supply soon, Maladict is going to bring a new round of chaos to this book. Will their hallucinations be manifestations of their desires or something else? I don’t think that scene with Death was Polly’s imagination (I love that Death is pretty much in every book), but I am certain this is only going to get weirder.
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